Villages go to the polls

Photo by Flickr user Keith Ivey. Published under Creative Commons license.

Upstate New Yorkers living under the sway of the state's littlest governments go to the polls today, to elect new mayors and village boards or give the incumbents another two years. For most New York State villages, Tuesday, March 19 is Election Day.

Elections in most Catskills villages promise to be a sleepy affair this year, with few challengers on the polls.

In Ulster County, where several villages hold elections at other times in the year, only Saugerties has an election, and none of the four incumbents on the ballot has a challenger. New Paltz will hold elections in May, and Ellenville in November along with the general election.

The story is much the same in Schoharie County, where the villages of Cobleskill, Esperance and Sharon Springs vote later in the year, Schoharie has no election this year, and incumbents in Middleburgh and Richmondville have no challengers.

Greene County has a couple of contested races: Both Athens and Catskill have contested races for two seats on the village board, and Athens also has a pair of propositions on whether term limits for mayors and village trustees should be extended. Coxsackie, Hunter and Tannersville all have unopposed races for mayors and trustees. But the Daily Mail writes that even though voters don't have much choice at the polls, there's a lot at stake in village government:

Underlying these races are the spectre of the state’s 2 percent tax cap, growth and development issues, economic hardship and pressure to share or consolidate services.

Things are a little more exciting in Delaware County, where Delhi, Hancock, Stamford and Margaretville all have mayoral contests. Margaretville's election should be especially interesting to watch, as mayor Bill Stanton is stepping down from the post, to be replaced either with Diana Cope or with Stanton's erstwhile challenger Lauren Davis, a landowner who was embroiled in a dispute with the village for years over the management of a creek. A few incumbent trustees will have to fight for their seats in Delhi, Hancock, and Walton; no contested races are on the ballot in Fleischmanns, Hobart, or (surprisingly enough) Sidney.

The Sullivan County villages of Liberty and Wurtsboro have contests afoot for both mayor and village board, and there's a contested village board seat in Bloomingburg. (Bloomingburg's race, between an incumbent on an embattled village board and a newcomer from the activist-leaning Rural Heritage Party, should be one to watch.) Jeffersonville has no challengers on the ballot, and Monticello and Woodridge aren't holding elections Tuesday.